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Unmanned > Mars & Missions > Orbiters > MRO 2005
Mars Orbiter Glitch Stalls Red Planet Science
By Tariq Malik
Senior Editor
posted: 26 February 2009
10:18 am ET

According to Novosti Kosmonavtiki (a very serious website), MRO now working normally.
According to NASA ( a very serious space agency ) it's out of safe mode as well

According to NASA ( a very serious space agency )

Was that needed?

And yes, Novosti Kosmonavtiki is a credible source
MRO in normal ops is good news.
Zvezdichko, I think the point was that we all know about Novosti Kosmonavtiki being a very credible source wink.gif
From what I can tell, MRO is in a pretty serious safe mode at this time, with no hope to get out of it anytime in the short term future. It's been in Safe mode for a week, and likely will continue for another week or so. It's also somewhat compounded by fires in the JPL area. The good news is, the MRO science teams will actually get to spend an extended weekend, taking it off for Labor Day.
Hm. Source?

Or are you the source because you are (may be) involved in the project?
QUOTE (Zvezdichko @ Sep 1 2009, 10:29 AM) *
Hm. Source?

Or are you the source because you are (may be) involved in the project?

Here's the MRO's press release about the Safe Mode spazz:
QUOTE (Marz @ Sep 1 2009, 11:14 AM) *
Here's the MRO's press release about the Safe Mode spazz:

I re-read my post, and realized I was somewhat pessimistic... All instruments are working on MRO, but this is the most serious safing event so far, or at least, they are worried more about it due to the frequency of the events... Just like Spirit being stuck right now, the engineers are taking it slow to make sure there isn't anything seriously wrong... It shouldn't be months before it's back to full operations, but if it was a normal event, it would already be over. Give it a week or two, and a bit of luck, and it'll be on. I only meant to say it was a bit more serious than previous events, that's all.

Oh, I should also say, JPL is opened fully, guess I was getting an older source of news saying it was closed temporarily... Sigh.

As for sources, well, there bits and pieces from several spots, here's a few

States that the orbiter will remain in safe mode for weeks.
Mixed news I think
Should we be reading into this:

Once the probe its given a clean bill of health, it will restart science observations and play a larger role as a communications relay station for NASA's Spirit and Opportunity rovers.
It's fairly clear - there's no 'reading into' requried. It make far more sense to schedule downlink via MRO.

It frees up MODY (as it's downlink is much lower than MRO)
It''s an accounting error in terms of MRO downlink
It's going to be on the ground faster with MRO
Thus it opens up a bit of extra sequence planning time.

DOWNSIDE - the passes are earlier in the afternoon, so less time for rover activities before stopping for the day. (But part of me wonders why they can't just start earlier - the generated power during the day will still be the same - maybe it's a heater requirement thing starting too early)

Comparing and

MODY is between 28,440 b/s and 110,600 b/s for 70-m passes, and between 3,950 b/s and 110,600 b/s for 34-m passes.

MRO starts at 500kbps on 34-m passes at the furthest distance from Earth - and goes up to 2.6Mbps on 34 and 6Mbps on 70-m at closest approach.
The fix sounds reasonable--stretching out the response time to prevent the fault protection system from triggering a reset from what are presumed to be very transient alarms. They're proceeding with extremely prudent caution & diligence, though.

'Desensitizing' an FPS response must be done with great care just in case this transient condition isn't behaving precisely as they think it is based on ground modeling. Gotta be pretty confident that allowing the condition to persist longer won't do real damage (possibly in unexpected ways) before making such a change.
But is MRO's time better spent optimized for pure science instead of both science and relay?
MRO doing relay is a much much smaller impact on MRO, than Odyssey doing relay is an impact on Odyssey. Relay on Odyssey could take a couple of hours out of every day for downlink. (a 15 minutes 128 kbps pass can take a long time at 33kbps to downlink )

At worst - it's a couple of minutes for MRO.

In terms of total science done - there's less loss by asking MRO to do it. It's a BIT impact on Odysseys downlink budget - it's an accounting error for MRO.

And of course - there's science value IN the relay itself - i.e. the data returned from the rovers.
It comes down to the value of time on each spacecraft. Have we finally reached a tipping point that "x" amount of time on MRO is less valuable then "x+n" amount of time on Odyssey?
It's the impact for downlink that's massively, the dominant force here. It's a double digit percentage hit on Mars Odyssey's downlink to do MER. It's less than a single digit on MRO.

It's not time - it's data volume.
Team Plans Uplink of Protective Files
Via @HiCommander

MRO is out of safe mode. Instruments, including #HiRISE, still safed for a short while longer.
MRO is back!
The MARCI weather reports are back.
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